The MRSA Epidemic and/as Fluid Biopolitics

Joshua I. Newman, Rachel Shields, Christopher M. McLeod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This article offers a series of critical theorizations on the biopolitical dimensions of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), with specific attention to what has recently been referred to in the United States as the ‘MRSA Epidemic’. In particular, we reflect on the proliferation of biomedical discourses around the ‘spread’, and the pathogenic potentialities, of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA). We turn to the work of Roberto Esposito and Jean-Luc Nancy to better make sense of how, during this immunological crisis, the individualized fleshy and fluid body is articulated to dimensions of community and corporeal proximity; the body is thus conceived in popular biopolitical framings as a site of transmission, inoculation, and isolation – as a living ecological and pathological vessel. We give emphasis to the spatial relations of flesh, namely in how biomedical ‘experts’ have sought to (bio-)technologize spaces of heightened communal bodily contact (such as playgrounds or gymnasia).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-184
Number of pages30
JournalBody and Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • biopolitics
  • communitas
  • immunitas
  • immunological self


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